Notes: “10-spot” engine penalty stays

The 10-spot grid penalty for engine changes — which constantly shuffled starting grids throughout last season — will be back in 2013.

And it may prove to have an even bigger impact in its second year. That's because the engine change-out mark for teams has been stretched from 1,850 miles to 2,000 miles.

It's just one of multiple changes made to the INDYCAR rulebook for this upcoming campaign. Among those changes:

  • Pole sitters no longer have the chance to decide where they'll line up at the drop of the green flag; they'll have to go from the inside of the front row on both starts and double-file restarts.
  • Teams can determine the amount of fuel in the cars at the start of a race; previously, all teams needed to have 18.5 gallons worth of E85 at the start.
  • In road/street course qualifying, a driver will not be allowed to advance to the next round AND lose his two fastest laps if he is found to have interfered with qualifications during Round 1 and 2. If said offense happens during Round 3/Firestone Fast Six, the driver will be held out for the remainder of that round.
  • Finishing positions 19th through 25th will have an adjustment made on points rewarded. Instead of a flat system, there will be a one-point difference between each position.
  • Any driver/entrant that leads one lap will earn one bonus point. The driver/entrant that leads the most laps in a race will still net two bonus points.

INDYCAR has a full release that features more notable changes to the 2013 rulebook here.

Alex Tagliani is officially back for another season at Barracuda Racing. Last year, the Lachenaie, Quebec native collected a pole at Texas Motor Speedway and eight top-10 finishes after he and Barracuda switched from Lotus to Honda power at the Indianapolis 500.

“The 2012 season was strong for us, despite the challenges we faced, and the results don’t reflect all our successes,” said Tagliani in a team statement. “In our second season together at Barracuda Racing, we can only climb upward as a team.”

“I really think that with Todd [Malloy] engineering, and the experience that [team owners] Bryan [Herta] and Steve [Newey] bring to the table, our car will be even more competitive. It will be great to show that we are a factor, that we are moving up in the field.”

Andretti Autosport's Carlos Munoz was the fastest of them all in Day 1 of the Firestone Indy Lights Open Test down in South Florida. The Colombian threw down a lap of 1 minute, 14.992 seconds in the afternoon session to lead the way.'s Kate Guerra's keeping an eye on things at Homestead-Miami Speedway, so check out her reports on the test. The second day of the session is currently underway.

Simona de Silvestro and Tony Kanaan of KV Racing Technology were in Baltimore yesterday to take part in their team's official launch for 2013. As part of the festivities, De Silvestro and her No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy team took part in pit stop demonstrations for fans along Pratt Street. You can check out some of the action here.